ALAMEDA — As a rookie quarterback seeking his first NFL win against Bill Belichick's New England Patriots, Derek Carr has too much to worry about himself to focus on questions about his coach's job security.
But if the Raiders don't start winning soon, those questions about Dennis Allen's job will only get louder.
Instead of showing the progress that owner Mark Davis had hoped to see this season in the first two games, the Raiders have shown few signs of improvement in losing to the New York Jets and Houston.
“I don't get into those things,” Carr said about Allen's job status. “I don't even talk about them even to my family. If it even tries to come up, people want to ask questions, I don't even talk about it, because my sole focus is taking what Coach Allen says, applying it to what I need to do, and then spreading it out and leading the offense. So as long as that's going on, whatever the head man says, that's what I go by.”
Allen is in his third year as coach, having won just four games in each of his first two seasons as the Raiders tore down the team he and general manager Reggie McKenzie inherited from late owner Al Davis.
But with more than $60 million in salary cap room and a near full complement of draft picks this offseason, the Raiders were hoping to be able to rebuild quickly.
Instead they opened the season with a 19-14 loss to the Jets that wasn't as close as the final score indicated and then fell behind 27-0 after three quarters of a 30-14 loss to Houston in the home opener.
That last game led veteran defensive back Charles Woodson to say the team “sucked” and he was “embarrassed” by the performance.
“We need to go out and prove it on the field,” Allen said. “Talk is cheap. We've got to go out and play well. I think we've got more talent on this football team and we need to go out there and play like it on Sunday.”
With a “home” game in London against Miami following this week's trip to New England, Allen could be running out of time to get things changed. He said he has not talked with Davis this week, reporting as usual to McKenzie in the “normal chain of command.” He also said his only focus is on getting ready for the Patriots.
Receiver Rod Streater said the only way to deal with the questions is to silence them by winning games.
“We want to win,” Streater said. “We feel like we have the right coaches, the staff. We just have to continue to make the progress. Stop killing ourselves making little mistakes and hurting ourselves. Once we do that, I feel like we can be a really good team.”
Carr has been one of the few bright spots for the Raiders through two games. While he has shown some signs of being a rookie with a poor decision on a drive-killing interception in the second quarter last week, Carr has done a good job of dealing with pressure in the pocket.
He has completed 47 of 74 passes for 414 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions through the first two weeks. He has also been sacked just twice and showed the athleticism to run for 57 yards, including 41 on a zone-read keeper.
He has done all that against a defense run by Jets coach Rex Ryan and one keyed by Houston star J.J. Watt. Facing Belichick's team is just the latest challenge.
“I know that they're going to be ready,” Carr said. “I know that they're going to be sound. I know that they're going to be very disciplined and that has shown because they've won however many Super Bowls. Again, he's a great coach, so it'll be good.”
NOTES: RB Maurice Jones-Drew (right hand), Streater (hip flexor), LB Sio Moore (ankle), DE Justin Tuck (illness) and CB Carlos Rogers (knee) all did not practice. Rogers' injury is not believed to be serious and Streater said he expected to play Sunday. The status of Moore and Jones-Drew for this week is uncertain. … The Raiders re-signed LB Bojay Filimoeatu to the practice squad. Filimoeatu was added to the active roster last week before getting cut to make room for new WR Vincent Brown.